Colin McRae Rally 3 - Xbox

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Colin McRae Rally 3 (Xbox)
Also for: PC, PS2, GameCube
Viewed: 3D First-person / Third-person Genre:
Racing: Rally
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Codemasters Soft. Co.: Codemasters
Publishers: Codemasters (GB)
Released: 25 Oct 2002 (GB)
Ratings: 3+
Accessories: Wheel, Xbox Memory Unit


The name Colin McRae is probably as synonymous now with the virtual rally experience as with the sport of rallying itself. Possibly more so. The two previous Colin-endorsed titles on the PC and PSX enjoyed great success, having being recognised for their authentic representation of the sport. It was only a matter of time before a next-gen sequel would be announced, and it was pretty much a dead cert that anticipation for such a title would reach great heights. Well the wait is over, and not only for PS2 owners but Xbox fans too.

Stuck behind the wheel of the famous Focus RS WRC, players take on the role of Colin himself, alongside long-standing co-driver Nicky Grist. Starting the game with a three-year contract, the aim is to win a series of championships for Ford Rallye Sport - quite possibly a contractual obligation in Codemasters and Ford's agreement. Eight gruelling international rallies make up the proceedings in the World Championship, taking players through an array of diverse conditions, including rain, snow, dirt, gravel, and tarmac.

Each rally begins in the service area, with the team's engineers performing the set-up requirements, adjusting the car's suspension, engine, and chassis for the course ahead. Each setting can also be manually adjusted in the case of anyone who thinks they know better.

The rally driving itself follows suit with the series, delivering an impressive level of both technical and visual detail. The emphasis here is most definitely not on providing a simple, arcade experience, as the veritable 'Focus simulator' requires a combination of time, skill and a great detail of patience to master. Stick at it though, and an incredibly deep and authentic rally simulation is unearthed, although it must be pointed out that the physics can rather frustratingly appear on the over-imaginative side.

The original Colin McRae Rally game is widely recognised as having defined the rally game genre. It's been a long wait for the series to reach the current generation of consoles but, all in all, worth it, as this title more or less delivers everything it promised.